OPINION | Barry Richard: Let Racism Die, Stop Feeding It
Racism exists in the world. It always will. It is not possible to totally eradicate racism, or any other form of hatred for that matter. Hatred is based on fear and ignorance. And misinformation. The best we can do is to try to educate.
I've got a friend who is a liberal newspaper guy. I'm a conservative radio guy, if you didn't already know. We both despise racism, but we come from different experiences and different generations, therefore, we see things differently on the matter. Did I also mention that we are both white guys?
My friend believes that it was rude for black comedian Wanda Sykes to refer to President Trump as an orangutan, but says it is racist for white comedian Roseanne Barr to refer to Obama advisor Valeria Jarrett as an ape. My friend says racism has a rather odious track record (slavery, Jim Crow, police brutality, etc). He is right. He suggests that minorities are special people.
Here's the rub: I don't believe that minorities are "special people." I believe in the U.S. Constitution, which makes all people equal under the law. I also believe in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that people should be judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
We teach all of our children that no one is more special than anyone else. But that doesn't mean that we are all judged equally. For certainly, we are not.
"People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
What Roseanne said about Valerie Jarrett was stupid and unkind. What Wanda Sykes said about Donald Trump was stupid and unkind. But neither is less stupid or unkind because of the aggrieved party's skin color. To believe so would contradict the teachings of Dr. King by elevating one race above the other. I think we can all agree that name calling is childish and demeaning, regardless of your background.
Why can't we all just get along?
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.